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Regime Shifts and Spatial Resilience in a Coral Reef Seascape

Abstract

Ecosystems are shaped by natural processes such as predator–prey interactions and climate, as well as by human activities such as harvesting and pollution. Resilient ecosystems are able to absorb disturbances, but chronic stressors may reduce the capacity of an ecosystem to cope with change (Trends Ecol Evol 15:413–417, 2000). The ability of ecosystems to absorb disturbance and at the same time maintain their structure, processes, and function is known as resilience (sensu Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 4:1–23, 1973). Accumulated evidence from many systems (e.g., coral reefs, forests, rangelands, and shallow lakes) suggests that when pushed past a threshold (i.e., beyond their resilience), ecosystems can undergo a regime shift to an alternative state (Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world, Washington, DC, 2006; Am Zool 32:674–682, 1992; J Anim Ecol 59:1147–1164, 1990; Trends Ecol Evol 8:275–279, 1993; Ecol Soc 6:17–28, 2011). From an anthropocentric perspective these alternative states may be less desirable than the initial state depending on the ecosystem goods and services they produce (Ecol Econ 29:215–233, 1999). Strong feedbacks in the alternate state may also make recovery to the original state difficult, even after the original stressors are removed (Nature 413:591–596, 2001; Ecosystems 15:695–710, 2012). Human dimensions such as opportunity and governance also comprise an important aspect of resilience because they influence how sustainably resources are used (Science 325:419–422, 2009; Curr Biol 19:206–212, 2009), thereby shifting the resilience threshold. The objectives of this lab are to.

Keywords

  • Coral Reef
  • Coral Cover
  • Regime Shift
  • Patch Reef
  • Fishing Gear

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Correspondence to Jennifer C. Selgrath .

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Appendix: Coral Reef and Small-Scale Fishing Image Series

Appendix: Coral Reef and Small-Scale Fishing Image Series

Image Series 1
figure a

Two potential regimes in coral reefs: (a) shows a “healthy” coral-dominated reef with abundant herbivorous fish, habitat complexity, and high productivity, whereas (b) shows a reef dominated by macro-algae. Image Credits: Jennifer Selgrath/Project Seahorse

Image Series 2
figure b

Living coral polyps (a) form colonies (b) and are the building blocks of coral reefs. (c) Destruction of corals from blast fishing. Image Credits: Jennifer Selgrath/Project Seahorse

Image Series 3
figure c

Images of gears used by small-scale fishers in the Philippines: (a) blast fishing explosion; (b) fish trap with three fish inside; (c) hand line fishers paddling to their fishing grounds; (d) trigger fish caught by a hook; (e) dive fisher using a crowbar (KayKay) to pry abalone put of their hiding places in the coral reef; and (f) encircling gill net being pulled in by squid fishers. Image Credits: (a) Wolcott Henry 2005/Lynn Funkhauser; (b) Rebecca Weeks/Marine Photobank; (c, e, f) Jennifer Selgrath/Project Seahorse; (d) Lawrence Alex Wu/Marine Photobank

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Selgrath, J.C., Peterson, G.D., Thyresson, M., Nyström, M., Gergel, S.E. (2017). Regime Shifts and Spatial Resilience in a Coral Reef Seascape. In: Gergel, S., Turner, M. (eds) Learning Landscape Ecology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-6374-4_18

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